Several thousand years ago the Greeks used the intestines of animals to create the first expandable garden hose. However, they didn’t use it to water their gardens. They used it to spray the ancient Greek fire at their enemies on ships in battle.
They didn’t have the technology to create rubber or latex, but this version of expanding hose worked well. Now, the need to spray enemies with flaming liquid is over and we use the expandable hose to water our garden, or clean the car, or even wash our pets.
Over the past several years the expandable hose has become an attractive option for many people, but there have been many complaints. In this review, you’ll learn what to watch out for and see if there are any garden hoses on the market worth buying.
What Is An Expandable Hose?
The outer covering of expandable garden hoses is a durable fabric or material that is more likely to tear if not handled carefully. The interior is Triple layer latex tubing which can expand and contract to 3x its normal size, making the expandable garden hose extremely lightweight and flexible.
They also have the added benefit of being longer than most regular rubber hoses. With a 50-foot expandable garden hose, you can expand it to 3x it’s length and cover over 150 feet of area.
The flexibility of this style of hose makes it an attractive option for many homeowners. There are claims of them that say they never kink, never twist and self-drain. Are these claims valid? After watching many videos of the expandable garden hoses in action, we will tell you what we found out.
How Does an Expandable Hose Work?
The expandable hose is made up of two layers, the outer material and the interior latex. All expandable hoses have an interior of latex. This is because latex is the only material that can expand to 3x its size.
If you have ever run water through a regular rubber garden hose, you’ll notice that the size of the hose does not expand. Rubber is not designed to expand and rather is intended to withstand cold and hot weather, as well as wear and tear from sharp objects such as rocks and bricks.
When the water is turned on with a high PSI is flows through the latex causing it to expand. Most materials do not expand very well and adding high water flow through materials not meant to expand will most certainly cause them to burst or leak at the faucet.
With expandable hoses, you have neither of these problems because the latex core is designed to expand. So, let’s take a closer look at this latex core and see what makes it so unique.
Expandable Hose Materials
When looking for the best expandable hose we compared different outer and inner materials to see how they differ. The vast majority of expandable hoses use an outer polyester cloth with a denier count of 3000 – 5000. The overwhelming majority of the inner material is latex, with either 2-core or 3-core.
Outer Expandable Hose Material
You find that all expandable hose outer materials are made of polyester woven fabric. This material is measured in Deniers, which is a unit of textile measurement that determines the strength of the fabric. One strand of silk is approximately 1 Denier.
The higher the denier count of the fabric the more prone it will be to ripping, puncturing and exposure to direct sunlight. The majority of expandable garden hoses that you will find use 5000 Denier woven casings, so there isn’t much need to get into the specifics. You will often find a hose that doesn’t tell you what the fabric is made of and these are usually resellers that don’t know the denier count of the outer polyester fabric.
Inner Expandable Hose Material
Latex is the material you will find in all expandable garden hoses. Usually, it will have 2 or 3 cores because latex tubing by itself is not very durable. The process works by dipping the latex into a rubber-like material to harden the exterior of the latex.
It’s important to keep the latex tubing flexible for it to expand and contract several thousand times throughout the life of the tubing.
The best expandable hose will have a latex core. Latex is a natural liquid that derives from the sap of the rubber tree. In fact latex is found in over 10% of all flowering plants. However, it’s much easier to get the sap from trees. The process is very similar to extracting maple syrup.
Synthetic Latex is produced in a laboratory and has similar properties as natural latex. Rather than being taken from a tree, it comes from petrochemicals and petroleum byproducts. If it doesn’t say Natural latex on the box, then you should assume that the hose is made from synthetic latex. This is done because synthetic latex tubing is much cheaper to buy.
When looking for an expandable garden hose you should try to find one with a 100% natural latex core. Not many studies have been conducted on the long-term effects of using synthetic latex, but I would have to imagine that natural latex is better for you in the long run.
Double layer vs. Triple layer Latex Core
Many of the expandable hoses claim that the Triple layer Latex Core is stronger than the double layer latex. However, the tests that we conducted did not prove this, and in fact, the double layer latex can be just as strong as the triple layer. The process of creating layered latex is done by taking a latex tube and dipping it in boiling latex and allowing it to cool.
In theory the more layers of latex, the stronger is will be. However, with each layer of latex that you add it loses flexibility. However this may not always be the case. Sometimes the second layer is a very thick polymer that covers the inner latex tubing. Different manufacturers will use a different process for this, so it’s up to you to read reviews.
In general we found that the double layer latex is best. The first layer is the organic more durable latex and the second layer is a thick PVC coating. you don’t need to worry about this mater getting into your water because the water only flows threw the interior latex.
Expandable Hose Benefits
An expandable hose is less expensive than a conventional rubber hose. Why is this you may be wondering? The inner and outer materials of an expandable hose are far cheaper than other garden hoses. The majority of expandable hoses will cost half the price of a rubber hose and include a free hose nozzle, carrying bag, and hook. Does this mean that expandable garden hoses are half as good as a rubber hose? Not necessarily. They have different pros and cons.
Have you ever had problems carrying your garden hose long distances? I know I sure have. Sometimes a rubber garden hose filled with water can weigh over 50 pounds. With an expandable hose you won’t get this issue, and most of them weigh only 3 lbs with no water in them.
After you are done the water easily drains out since there is no pressure to expand the latex so that you won’t have the problem of additional water lingering in the hose for extended periods of time.
Regular garden hoses can take up a lot of space, and it may be difficult to find a place to store it. The can be so large in fact that it becomes a problem to store them. With an expandable hose you don’t need a hose reel and you can easily save space by hanging it on a hook.
Less Kinking and Tangling
One of the biggest complaints consumers have always had with garden hoses is kinking. Make a kink-free hose seems to be impossible, however many of the expandable hoses are less prone to kinking than rubber garden hoses.
This is because the thin interior latex is very flexible, as opposed to hard rubber. The expandable hoses do have tangling problems though, and as water fills the tube, it does have a tendance to get tangled. So, while the dreaded problem of kinking may partially be solved, the problem of tangling remains. It seems as though they will never design a hose that is a kink-free. You just have to get one that kinks less than other hoses.
Once the water pressure stops, the hose automatically releases all water inside the hose. This happens because the expanding properties of latex need water pressure in it to stay expanded. Once water pressure stops, the latex will contract and quickly force the water out of the hose.
Overall there are some very good benefits to using expandable hoses. This doesn’t mean that that there are not drawbacks as well.
Choosing the Best Expandable Hose
We looked at over 50 of the most popular expandable hoses currently on the market in 2017 and compared them to find the best expandable hose. There are several things you should look at closely and here is what we found:
Above we covered what meterials you should avoid. The majoriy of expandable hoses use the same out polyester fabric, so you don’t need to be too concerned with that. The inner material should be made of natural latex, which has proven to be stronger than synthetic latex.
Solid brass fittings
The shut off valve and the connector to the faucet is generally solid brass. Brass is used because it doesn’t rust and it’s safe for water to flow through it without causing toxins to leach into the water. Stay away from aluminium connectors as these can have harmful toxic side effects to your water.
Always check the length of the hose. One thing to not is that the length of the expandable hose is when water runs through it. If it says 50 feet of hose, this means that the hose is really something like 15 feet long and after you flow water though it, it expands to 50 feet.
The majority of expandable hoses come with a 12 month warranty and may be replaced in that time if it breaks. You should read the warranty information carefully to see if you can replace it if it breaks. If it doesn’t come with a replacement warranty you may wish to look for another hose that does.
Look to see if it comes with a free hose nozzle, carrying bag and hooks. Also, be sure to read the reviews of the hose nozzle. Most of the nozzles are cheaply made and if you want a good hose nozzle you probably aren’t going to get it as a free add-on when purchasing an expandable garden hose.
Making Your Hose Last Longer
The majority of expandable hoses come with a storage hook to hang your hose when you;’re not using it. You can also look at Flexible Hose Storage Keepers, which are an excellent way to store your garden hose.
Storing an expandable hose correctly is important. If you leave it outside animals may try to tear at the hose and damage it. It also may get exposed to the elements which can damage it as well.
Top 5 Expandable Hoses
With so many expandable hoses out there it can be difficult to find the best one. In this article we went over everything you should pay attention to before purchasing an expandable hose. After reading this you should be an expert in expandable hoses. We don’t claim to be experts but getting an idea of the materials and how they work will go a long way in helping you find the best expandable garden hose. So, let’s take a look at our top 5 picks and see what makes them stand out.
1byone Flat Expandable Garden Hose
1byone Flat Expandable Garden Hose Rating
The 1byone Flat Expandable Garden Hose has a unique flat design, unlike most other expandable hoses. It is one of the few expandable hoses on the market that doesn't kink or tangle and comes with a great garden hose nozzle. Reviews have been overwhelmingly great, and most people love this hose. Overall it's a very professional hose with solid latex and PVC interior that will work well in all weather conditions.
Josy&Co – Expandable Garden Hose Review
Josy&Co - Expandable Garden Hose Rating
After watching several videos of this hose in action I really liked it. It doesn't specify the PSI anywhere on there homepage, so one of the problems I had with it is that you don't know the water pressure. Most people have not complained about this and the water pressure seems to be fine. Overall I would consider this expandable hose one of the best on the market and if you're going to buy it be sure to watch all the videos first.
Plusinno Expandable Garden Water Hose Review
PLUSINNO Expandable Garden Water Hose Rating
For the most part this expandable hose works as advertised. They are not very specific regarding the inner workings of this hose. The material is somewhat of a mystery. It can be a bit difficult to expand all the way without a lot of water pressure. If you don't have very high water pressure it won't expand to the full length. The hose is very good quality and doesn't leak or kink. The hose nozzle is great and the price is great as well.
GrowGreen ALL NEW 2017 Garden Hose
GrowGreen ALL NEW 2017 Garden Hose Rating
The description for this hose is not very specific on the materials used. It says, 'latex' which could mean natural or synthetic. It also doesn't specify if it's one or two or 3 layers of inner latex tubing. The reviews were good for this hose, with over 800 reviews and many of them positive. It has a good PSI rating and comes in a few different colors with a length up to 75 feet. The price is good and maybe that's why it's so popular.
VicTsing Expanding Hose – 100% natural latex core
VicTsing Expanding Hose – 100% natural latex core Rating
The VicTsing Expanding Hose is the #1 Best Seller on Amazon, so I thought I would do a review and see what we could find. This hose has many complaints about leaking and kinking, which is rare when it comes to expandable garden hoses. It's also smaller than advertised if you don't have enough water flow it will only grow up to 20-30 feet, according to some reviews. The best thing about this hose is that it uses 100% all natural rubber latex which is safe for you to drink. Other than that it looks like a poor choice for a replacement or first time user. They do offer a 45 day money back guarantee, which is good if you don't like it or it breaks.